Williams v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., No. 11-60818 (5th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
In this diversity case, at issue was whether plaintiff, a Mississippi resident injured in Mississippi while working for an Alabama resident contractor, had an action in tort for damages against the employer's worker's compensation insurer because of the insurer's intentional bad-faith refusal to pay him worker's compensation when due. The court concluded that under Mississippi's choice-of-law principles, plaintiff's tort suit was governed by Mississippi substantive law. Further, the district court erroneously concluded that, under Mississippi law, the insurer's alleged intentional bad faith refusal to pay plaintiff's worker's compensation was merely a breach of contract and not an independent tort committed by the carrier outside the scope of plaintiff's employment as the Mississippi Supreme Court held in Southern Farm Bureau Cas. Ins. Co. v. Holland. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings.